Beautiful U begins with trash pickup

by Nathan Whalen

Gangs of facilities crews ran rampant through campus Wednesday, looting buildings for their trash and dirt as the University began its two-day “Beautiful U” celebration.
The cleaners, dubbed the “G.A.C. Squad” — short for Gang Against Crud — donned customized shirts, backpack vacuums and feather dusters, and rummaged through campus buildings and streets on a cleaning spree.
While leaving buildings spic-and-span, the squad made a point of thanking University staff members who spruced up working conditions in their departments.
“They went out recognizing people who brightened up the workplace,” said Tim Norton, the Facilities Management executive assistant in charge of the cleaning team.
Staff and faculty members made piles and filled bins with recycling and trash as part of the “Beautiful U” campaign.
For some, the trash collection was intense.
“Well, we survived,” said Dana Donatucci, University recycling coordinator. “But I don’t think it’s over.”
Recycling workers attempted to collect more than 30 tons of materials Wednesday. Donatucci said his staff easily met their goal.
In fact, the response was so tremendous that workers will spend the rest of the week picking up the discarded materials.
“We collected everything,” Donatucci said. The trash ranged from old papers to electronic equipment to furniture.
Donatucci was concerned about handling some of the material. For example, recycling crews acquired an old electron microscope and had to determine whether it contained any hazardous material before discarding it.
He said the trash and recycling drive was much more successful than in 1997 — the last time they had held the drive and the first “Beautiful U” celebration.
As recycling workers dealt with the avalanche of material, about a dozen Dayton’s volunteers cleaned Williamson Hall’s windows and planted shrubs around the building.
Other groups of volunteers spread out across campus, cleaning up other areas including the Riverflats Park and sweeping up leaves around the stairs on the Northrop Mall.
The Beautiful U celebration started with University President Mark Yudof’s desire to spruce up the campus. One of the first projects of the 1997 celebration was painting the then graffiti-covered Washington Avenue Bridge. Last year, the South Mall redevelopment was the major focus.

Nathan Whalen covers facilities and construction and welcomes comments at [email protected].